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Dear Wendy

My daughter is stealing from my girlfriend

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  • #789499 Reply

    Hi I am a father of 3 children. My daughter, whom is the oldest, is the one I’m having my problems with. She’s a 14 soon to be 15 year old freshman.

    I’ve been dating my girlfriend now for about 3 years and she moved in with me about a year and half ago. We recently been noticing that my girlfriends clothes have been ending up missing. My daughter hasn’t been living with me for about a year now, she moved back with her mother for the first time in 14 years. So we were unsure if she was taking the clothes or not because we were unable to check. Well she moved back a few days ago because her mother is in the process of selling their home and my daughter wanted to stay in the same school. She came back and just last night we went through her clothes and found a lot of the missing items that belonged to my girlfriend. And to make matters worse they were all high end expensive clothing.

    My girlfriend is very upset and feels uncomfortable now knowing that her stuff could end up missing. I brought it up to my daughter and asked her and she denied it. I’m not sure how to fix this problem, I don’t want my daughter stealing clothes from anyone and rather ask me first if she needs new clothes. My household is turned upside down right now and I’m stuck right in the middle trying to figure out what next and how to make sure everyone is ok I’m the end. How do I approach her and confront her without upsetting my daughter. She’s a hothead and tends to play the victim a lot when she’s in situations like these. I don’t want to upset my daughter either as to the fact that she just moved back home after being gone for so long. I just need some advice please.

    #789503 Reply

    I wouldn’t have asked her about it when you know for a fact she took them. Kids lie and cover up because…kids. Tell her you found xyz, you know she took them, and if she intends to live in your home she needs to knock that off because that’s not how things work in your house or anywhere she would want to be. She wouldn’t like someone stealing her shit would she? Then ask her why she thought it would be acceptable to take things from your girlfriend’s closet. Who cares if she’s a hothead who plays the victim? She’s a child, you’re her father. Nip this in the bud now.

    #789504 Reply

    Well you know that your daughter likely stole the clothing. She can deny it sure, but you guys know it.

    Sometimes teenagers do it out of spite, or simply because they have never been told hands off.

    1. Keep accusing her and make her pay for the clothing. Probably not good in the long term.
    2. Drop it but lock your bedroom door. Monitor her more closely. Call her out if anything goes missing. But be prepared to back it up with tangible credible evidence.

    Teenagers are stupid. And Selfish. And have limited capacity to understand consequences. So establish the rules. Put up barriers. Lesson learned. Your daughter has sticky-ass fingers. Don’t leave cash or cards around. Don’t leave your car keys around. Lock up your alcohol and prescriptions. Lock up the jewelry. And let her know it.

    #789509 Reply

    I think this is less about stealing to acquire stuff and more about stealing to piss off the gf so much that gf leaves. Daughter doesn’t approve of her father having a gf, or at least this particular gf. She may see this as sticking up for her mother, as forcing a greater share of her father’s attention, or just letting her father and the world in general knowing that the break-up of her parents has made her angry and that she is still angry.

    #789512 Reply

    So your daughter moved out when your girlfriend moved in, since this happened have you had a discussion with your daughter on her importance to you? It’s hard when your dad moves a woman in when you have been the primary girl in his life. Does your GF have a relationship with your daughter at all? I know she doesn’t like being stolen from, but its clothes (no matter how high end) its most likely not about stealing. Do you buy your daughter high end clothes, because you now have a gf living in the house that has what she doesn’t have that is an issue. If it were me I would take this as an opportunity to form a bond and have something in common for your gf and daughter. I’m not saying overlook the stealing, but you need to fix the issue with your daughter feeling the need to steal for attention or feeling less than since your GF moved in before it really starts causing other issues.

    #789513 Reply

    You guys bring up a good point, I missed that part of the timeline. I still don’t think you can let the stealing go but there also needs to be a conversation about how she feels about your girlfriend and living with her.

    #789516 Reply

    You don’t just let her deny it nor do you worry about her being a hot head. You are the parent, she did wrong, she lied when confronted. So guess what, she is grounded until she wants to fess up and apologize and some further punishments must follow. I also agree with addressing your daughter clearly not wanting to live with your girlfriend but just because she doesn’t like it doesn’t mean she gets to steal. You are letting your daughter run this by avoiding dealing with it for fear of upsetting her. Guess what, when you do something like steal you are going to be upset with the consequences. If she doesn’t learn this quickly you will have much larger problems down the road.

    #789521 Reply

    You are the parent. She is the child.

    Stop pussyfooting it around and parent, damnit

    I consider lying to be even worse than stealing and have dropped the hammer heavily on my children when they lied

    Children need parents, not another buddy.

    #789526 Reply

    Do you want to have your daughter end up in jail? Because this is where it is heading. I would talk with the mother first just to see what the daughter told her where these clothes were coming from. Just how far is the lying been going? Is anything else missing from her house – like money? I would then drop the hammer. If the daughter gets mad/makes excuses/whatever, the punishment is going to be worse, and make that very clear to her. You do not care what the excuse is , stealing is wrong. I would make her at least pay back one half of the cost of the clothes and some grounding. If the mother does not back you up here she is an idiot. If the daughter does not like your rules (really no stealing and lying) she can move back with her mother and change schools or you can put her in a boarding school. I would also get her drug tested.

    #789527 Reply

    With kids you can never expect them to admit when they did something wrong. Skip the did you do it phase and go straight to the consequence phase. “You had girlfriends clothes, which have been missing and weren’t borrowed. The consequence is…

    Do try to spend one on one time with your daughter. Consider giving her an allowance for clothes or have an amount that you are willing to spend on each kid each month. Maybe she spends it on clothes while her siblings each put theirs towards electronics, games, hobbies and/or some clothes. You could make it a large enough amount that she buys all the things she needs from it without needing your permission. She would be responsible for all school supplies and school fees, hobbies and clothes.

    #789529 Reply

    Teenagers lie often when confronted. I think the confrontation was maybe not needed? I grew up with a sister and a mother and I would raid my mothers closet and my sister stole all my favorite clothes all the time. Is the right word for this behavior really stealing?

    Boundaries can get blurry around these things. Does she have a good relationship with your gf? Have they spent any time alone together? When I was that age, women who took the time to try to connect with me and treat me like a semi-adult made the world of difference in my life. Like one young Aunt I had would take me out every month or two, just the two of us. She was so awesome and nice and helped teach me about lady stuff and boys, and it was good for me to have an easy adult to talk to about things.

    I don’t think coming down hard on her first mistake will build a mutually beneficial relationship with her. You and your gf shouldn’t pretend to be her best friend and be super lenient, but you also don’t have to stage an inquisition and drug test her because she took some clothes that weren’t hers.

    Set up clear boundaries for the behavior/chores and expectations you have for her in the house. You can have this chat alone or with your gf there (that’s probably the better way.) Maybe if she completes whatever amount of chores, you could pay her an allowance for the week.

    Instead of confronting her like she’s a criminal, why not have your gf or you take her out clothes/back to school shopping and kindly tell her, you know she “borrowed” your gf’s clothes. That’s not okay to do without permission, and please don’t do it again.
    If you have super valuable jewelry, get a lock box and store it somewhere discreet. I don’t think this sounds like the time to go nuclear and label your daughter a thief.

    BE kind. Kids and teens are actually supposed to push boundaries. That’s how kids develop. Sometimes they hit a boundary and make a mistake. Within reason, it’s not a big deal. Have consequences that make sense. Unless she further proves she is going to misbehave or take things, I think this should be water under the bridge.

    She’s learning, she’s growing up. Be clear with what you expect and stay firm. But don’t be a hardass that she is afraid of and can’t talk to.

    #789530 Reply

    Well, gee… maybe if people stopped playing house and callously tossing aside their kids in favor of their latest mediocre fuck — said kids would have no reason to lash out with petty theft. Just saying…

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